FY2013 to see record exports

Sep 7, 2012

USDA has forecast agriculture exports to reach a record $143.5 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, with strong demand from Canada, Europe and Japan, according to The Outlook for US Agricultural Trade released Aug. 31 by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service.

Higher than normal prices for corn and strong international demand for wheat helped push the FY 2013 forecast well above the $136.5 billion worth of agriculture goods USDA is predicting will be exported in FY 2012.

“Even with tough odds due to extreme weather, U.S. agriculture is now poised for three consecutive years of record exports, smashing all previous records and putting America’s agricultural sector on pace to achieve President Obama’s goal under the National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014. These exports will support more than 1 million jobs in communities across the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in his released statement.

But despite the growth in some areas, the volume of corn exports is expected to decline in FY 2013. U.S. exporters are expected to ship 33.5 million tons of corn in FY 2013, a decrease of 5.5 million tons from FY 2012, USDA’s ERS said in the quarterly forecast.

U.S. agriculture imports are also forecast to reach a record high. The U.S. is now forecast to import $117 billion worth of agriculture goods in FY 2013, up from $106.5 billion in FY 2012.

This puts the expected trade surplus for next year at $26.5 billion, down from $30 billion in FY 2012 and $42.9 billion in FY 2011.

Fiscal 2013 wheat exports are forecast at $12.3 billion, an increase of $3.2 billion due to sharply higher unit values and volume. Higher values are largely supported by the higher corn prices.

The fiscal 2012 estimate for grain and feed exports is unchanged at $34.6 billion; however, there are offsetting changes. Corn exports are cut $800 million to $11.7 billion due to lower volume reflecting weaker than expected demand for feed grains in recent months as old-crop supplies tighten. Wheat exports are up $600 million to $9.1 billion as higher unit values more than offset reduced volume.

Fiscal 2013 oilseed and product exports are forecast at $28.1 billion, up $400 million from the 2012 estimate, driven by record soybean and soybean meal unit values attributed to tight exportable supplies. Record unit values boost soybean export value by nearly $800 million to $19.9 billion even with a decline in export volume. Soybean meal exports are projected lower as reduced crush limits export potential. Soybean oil exports are also down as lower production, tight stocks, and strong demand for biodiesel constrain exports.

Fiscal 2013 livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast marginally lower ($200 million) at $29.9 billion from the previous year. The declines in dairy, pork and poultry outweigh growth in beef. Dairy exports are forecast to decline $200 million to $4.8 billion as high feed costs are expected to reduce producer margins, leading to lower milk output and reduced dairy product supplies.

As a result, export volumes are anticipated to decline. Pork exports are forecast $100 million lower to $5.6 billion as higher prices and tighter exportable supplies are expected to impact shipments to more price sensitive markets in Latin America and the Caribbean. Poultry exports are forecast to decline by $50 million to $6.2 billion amid higher unit values and tighter exportable supplies. However, exports to Mexico, Canada and Angola are expected to remain strong. Beef exports are forecast to rise $200 million, to $5 billion on higher volumes and unit values.

The fiscal 2012 export value for livestock, poultry and dairy products is raised $500 million from May, to $30.1 billion with gains in dairy, poultry and pork.

“Congress needs to help ensure that this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor